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Une famille Anglaise

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3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
"A young man with shock-red hair tears through the snowbound streets of Warrington's toughest housing estate. He is Robbie Fitzgerald, and he is running for his life - and that of his young family. In his heart, Robbie knows the odds are stacked against them. In this unbending northern town, he has married the beautiful brown nurse who once stitched up his wounds. Susheela ...more
395 pages
Published 2011 by Flammarion (first published March 6th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Veronica
Mar 23, 2009 Veronica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mooched, fiction
Eat your heart out, Philip Hensher. This "state of England" novel, covering much of the same period as The Northern Clemency, blows it out of the water. It tells the story of a disintegrating mixed-race family, Irish musician Robbie Fitzgerald, his Malaysian wife Susheela, and their two children, Vincent and Ellie, through the 1970s and up to 1989. It starts with the brutal racism of a rough estate in Warrington, and moves on to the more discreet racism of a genteel suburb where Susheela tries d ...more
Katy
Feb 14, 2010 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: library-book
When I first picked this book up, I didn't realise it was based in Warrington which is where I live. I have read Brass by Helen Walsh when it first came out and I really enjoyed and have read it several times since. When I opened the book and came across "Orford, Warrington" which is exactly the place I grew up I became half excited and half apprehensive. Just like I thought, she painted Orford to be a horrible place that's full of danger and somewhere you wouldn't walk about in the daytime neve ...more
Eva Mitnick
Jan 20, 2010 Eva Mitnick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grown-ups
This is one of those books where you just want to shake several, or perhaps all, of the characters. "Be more honest to him!" "Be kinder to her!" "Talk to each other!" But no, the relationship between Irish singer and factory worker Robbie and his Malaysian wife Susheela (Sheila) is doomed after a brutal assault on Susheela (the details of which she doesn't share) prevents her from making love with or expressing love for Robbie. Its effects echo down the years and reverberate in the couple's chil ...more
D
May 18, 2012 D rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
I liked her first book but this one was
a disappointment. The description of the difficulties faced by a mixed-race working-class family in
the 1970's uses cardboard characters who are all either very good or very bad, but in all cases
rather stupid. It also contains scenes that horrified me.
Layna
Jun 09, 2009 Layna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This would translate so well into a film, hope someone does it.
Jessica
Oct 14, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fantastic. I couldn't put it down. I suggest you read it.
Virushka
Apr 04, 2013 Virushka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books of all time. A very harsh intro, but a great story.
Vanessa Filley
Mar 22, 2009 Vanessa Filley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I good read. Very engaging, beautifully written, but predictable.
Katri
Apr 05, 2011 Katri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Hyvä kirja pitkästä aikaa. Pidin kielestä ja tarinasta. Ja Vincentistä!
Mr Frederick M Soole
Love this author
Jana Heinzelmann
Sep 12, 2010 Jana Heinzelmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Once upon a time in England is a story about racism and the acceptance of differences within the british society in the 70s and 80s. The whole story is about a family living in Warrington in the north of England. All family members are different from the "normal" person living in the british society at that point in time. Robbie, the father, is a musician who cannot read and who works in a factory to feed his family. Sheila, his wife, is originally from Kuala Lumpur but immigrated to Britain be ...more
Ian Mapp
Jan 24, 2013 Ian Mapp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fict
I read Brass by Helen Walsh a long time ago. Super book, and then stupidly, I forgot about the author until I read a review of the "Lemon Grove" last year.

Decided that I needed to pick up with her back catalogue and see how she fared.

She destroyed the difficult 2nd book syndrome - this, is a classic.

State of the Nation book, telling a time period (1970s to late 80s) through the eyes of a mixed race family.... Irish Musician - Robbie Fitzgerald, his asian wife, Sushela and their two kids - who p
...more
May-Ling
a good book, but not memorable. i don't really love stories about a couple hopelessly in love that can't communicate...and then you watch their relationship unravel. if it was a movie, you'd want to scream at the screen, "just talk to each other, dammit!" and it would solve their problems.

i did like the unique perspective of what it was like culturally to be pakistani in england at a time when racism is so open and dangerously violent - it's not something i'm familar with and walsh does an excel
...more
Christopher
A mixed race family growing up in the 1980s. Sound a bit like Sadie Smith and White Teeth? I can't help thinking that's exactly what this particular author felt - so she deliberately goes for something harsher, more violent, more unremittingly bleak.

The problem is that Sadie's been here before. If you want to go on this turf, you better be prepared to live up to comparisons and in this case, I am sorry to say, the book fails. The characters are so well drawn, the sad little ends they all seem to
...more
Ali
Jun 06, 2009 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the coldest night of 1975, a young man with shock-red hair tears though the snowbound streets of Warrington's toughest housing estate. He is Robbie Fitzgerald, and he is running for his life - and that of his young family. In his heart, Robbie knows the odds are stacked against them. In this unbending Northern town, he has married the beautiful brown nurse who once stitched up his wounds. Susheela is his Tamil Princess, but in the real world, the Fitzgeralds have to face up to prejudice, pove ...more
seanat (elka)
Mar 13, 2009 seanat (elka) rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Many comparisons have been made with White Teeth, which I remember fondly as having strong flawed characters and lots of humour. This however didn't, it's grim yes I don't mind grim but it was relentless, the characters never spoke to eachother so there was never any resolution , everyone's addicted to something and in the end it just left me sad and uncomfortable that the racist thugs had seemed to win.

However it was very readable, I did finish and shed a small tear at the end but not enough up
...more
Matti Karjalainen
Helen Walshin "Englantilainen tragedia" (Like, 2009) kertoo englantilais-pakistanilaisen perheen vaiheista 1970-luvun alkupuolelta 1980-luvun loppuun. Mukaan on mahdutettu niin rasismia, avio-ongelmia, huumeita kuin muitakin vaikeita aiheita, jotka oikeuttavat kirjan nimen.

Walshin romaanin lukee ihan suuremmitta ongelmitta ja henkilöhahmoista oppii välittämään - eritoten perheen vanhin lapsi Vincent kasvaa sivumäärän lisääntyessä Hahmoksi isolla H:lla - mutta siitä huolimatta kirjasta jää kuiten
...more
Carol
Apr 10, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do enjoy 'State of the Nation' fiction; and did find this a powerful evocation of life in working class Warrington in the 1970s/80s. All life is here: love, music, mixed race marriage, racial tensions, pubs, sex, violence, childhood bullying, the rave culture, ecstasy, Canal Street, heroin...you name it. There are cliches, some of the characterisation is shallow and it's difficult to wholeheartedly sympathise with any of the cast. But as an account of flawed characters in a flawed world, it's ...more
Hannah Wingfield
Feb 27, 2014 Hannah Wingfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Complex, well-written novel with believable, multi-faceted characters that addresses issues of race, class, family breakdown, industrial decline & much more in 1970s/80s Northern England.

Click here to read my full review, on my book blog.
Krenna Edmonds
Jan 02, 2015 Krenna Edmonds rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All you 80's lovers read this book. It touched me on so many levels. Ms Walsh must have thought up the ending to this one before the beginning and I was kind of prepared for it... but I never saw (really hard to say this without being a spoiler) that last verse coming. Just an incredibly well-thought out piece of writing. Absolutely loved it!!
Amanda
May 01, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite what I was expecting based on the title, but good nonetheless. Very tragic and sad in a lot of ways, and the characters are very human, making plenty of obvious yet understandable mistakes. Does a really excellent job at describing the winding path it takes to get from a hopeful, loving family to a broken and dying one.
Sariah
Apr 06, 2015 Sariah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Horribly depressing throughout. Some scenes were completely unnecessary as they seemed to shock more than move the plot along (and we get no resolution to the scene. What are the consequences of that character's actions?). There are some really brilliant moments, but they are too few and far between. Great writer, just not my style.
Stephen
Nov 29, 2011 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is quite a grim novel detailing the story of the fitzgerald family growing up in 1970/80's warrington and facing racism and detailing their hard life from the start when the parents met a mixed race marriage and how the dreams webbed away , well worth reading
Andrea
Dec 10, 2007 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is a poignant family drama. It starts with a brutal rape, and just goes downhill from there.

This will not be published until March 2008, and you really must read it. I'm not ashamed to say I cried at the end.
Jon
Aug 27, 2012 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steamed through this in a couple of days, compelling and very believable. Captures prejudice well without being overly worthy. And a few places in Blackpool and Manchester that I can remember from back then. But overall, very well-written and keeps your interest throughout.
Shannon
Jan 10, 2014 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: london-book-club
Another of the mid-seventies, how-bad-was-England stories that I just don't relate to. My co-organizer loves these types of stories (his suggestion) as he remembers growing up in this era. I suggest you have that context before you bother reading it.
Cindy VW
Feb 05, 2014 Cindy VW rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Récit-fleuve très puissant, très fort aussi, portrait d'ne Angleterre en pleine mutation, avec ses injustices et ses inégalités.
Lara
Jul 30, 2012 Lara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
this book may be good, but I won't know, because it was so depressing that I had to put it down, it was giving me anxiety. I am new to not finishing books, but my time is now too precious!
Rita
Jun 28, 2009 Rita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not the type of book I usually read but I was gripped by the story of this unlucky family. They kept secrets which stopped them from understanding each other. Good read.
John
John rated it liked it
Feb 06, 2013
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HELEN WALSH was born in Warrington in 1977 and moved to Barcelona at the age of sixteen. Working as a fixer in the red light district, she saved enough money to put herself through language school. Burnt out and broke, she returned to England a year later and now works with socially excluded teenagers in North Liverpool. Brass is her first novel.
More about Helen Walsh...

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